Spenser invented for himself a new stanza of nine lines and made it famous, so that we call it after him, the Spenserian Stanza
. It was like Chaucer's stanza of seven lines, called the Rhyme Royal, with two lines more added.
I wrote, I wrote everything--ponderous essays, scientific and sociological short stories, humorous verse, verse of all sorts from triolets and sonnets to blank verse tragedy and elephantine epics in Spenserian stanzas
. On occasion I composed steadily, day after day, for fifteen hours a day.
While the Hermit can craft full sermons in Spenserian stanza
form, these characters can barely frame one lousy foot.
This is not the Spenserian stanza
, in which the lengthened last line turns each stanza into a distinct aesthetic unit.
One part of this research program would explore a family of longer, relatively complex stanza forms featuring interlaced end-rhymes, including ottava rima, rhyme royal, the Spenserian stanza
, and the Onegin stanza, and their variants.
The second half of the stanza then implies something only a little less likely: that a dreamer could not only start speaking at the instant of awakening but also instantly transcribe his speech in verse, scribbling a Spenserian stanza
on the deck of a pitching ship.
Scott would respond to Gertrude in The Vision of Don Roderick (1811) a poem on colonial themes set in a foreign country and composed in the Spenserian stanza
used by Campbell, though in the Gothic manner that was Scott's trademark.
Of the seven essays on The Faerie Queene, three have been published previously: Andrew King's piece on the "medieval" structure of the poem (appearing in the 2001 Review of English Studies); Syrthie Pugh's "Acrasia and Bondage: Guyon's Perversion of the Ovidian Erotic in book 2 of The Faerie Queene," which repeats a chapter in her Spenser and Ovid (2005); and Catherine Addison's contribution on the Spenserian stanza
, available in The Southern African Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies (2002).
Jeff Dolven and Kenneth Gross each offer an individual analysis of a single Spenserian stanza
as an entryway into talking about the work of the stanza throughout the poem.
The most prominent formal feature of The Faerie Queene is the Spenserian stanza
, so one might naturally search the Calender's varied forms for a stanza that looks similar, thinking that in such a place we might catch the epic poet in the act of becoming.
In addition to diction, the Spenserian stanza
is also found to be unpleasing and its failure derives from following models: His stanza is at once difficult and unpleasing; tiresome to the ear by its uniformity, and to the attention by its length.
Instead it is a poetic salvo fired above the heads of his enemies, an opening shot in his reengagement in Chartist politics, using the rhymes and rhythms of the Spenserian stanza
to enhance his political argument.